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How to wear a skinny jean: Plus edition

Some trends are reserved for specific body types, right? Wrong! If styled the right way, you can take any trend and apply it to work with your body type and lifestyle. Take the skinny jean for instance. You can be plus sized and still rock this look.

Should you wear them?
Amber Riley wearing skinny jeans

Skinny jeans are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. And why wouldn’t they be? They can take you from day to night, and from timeless elegance to rocker chic with the right shoes and accessories.

I personally prefer a skinny jean with a darker wash and minimal whiskering/distressing. It’s more flattering on my body shape (which is a pear). But they come in a zillion washes, colors, fabrics and patterns. With all of these options, how do you pick?

First off, know your body shape. If you’re not sure what body type you are, check out SheKnows’ dressing for your body type.

Pear and hourglass

Skinny jeans are trickiest to pull off if you’re an hourglass, or especially, a pear shape, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Most importantly, pay attention to the wash. Dark wash is best for those with wider hips and thighs. Keep any distressing and pattern to a minimum. If you want to do a pattern, pick a dark, almost monotone, pattern like a black skinny jean with a dark gray leopard print. It’s OK to fake it by going with a slim-cut straight leg jean as well. Just be sure to watch the wash and rise so you don’t get stuck wearing the dreaded “Mom jean.” Be super careful to balance your lower half with a more voluminous (this does not mean tent) top.

Best fall denim trends for pear-shaped figures and other flattering styles >>


Whatever you do, skip the high-waisted styles. This may seem counterintuitive — won’t the high waist help camouflage my mid-section? Actually the opposite is true. This actually draws attention to areas you may not want to highlight. Put the focus on your legs instead. And, I can’t believe I’m suggesting this — only to you. Jeggings, but only with a longer tunic length top.

Check out best fall denim trends for apple-shaped figures >>


Because of your slimmer thighs, experiment with a lighter wash or a bright color or pattern! The light color and pattern will help to balance out your upper half. If your torso and shoulders are wider than your hips (this makes you a wedge shape), try a cut that’s a bit slouchier and test out cuffing the bottom. These tips will also help to balance out your body.

Check out best fall denim trends for wedge-shaped figures >>

Our picks

Ankle-Length Skinny Jeans

Pear & hourglass
These Ankle-Length Skinny Jeans from INC International Concepts are great for pear and hourglass shapes.
Old Navy's Rockstar Jeggings

Old Navy’s Rockstar Jeggings are a great pick for apple shapes.
loral Ankle-Length Skinny Jeans from a.n.a® at jcpenny..

I am in LOVE with these floral Ankle-Length Skinny Jeans from a.n.a® at JCPenney.

More fitting tips

All shapes should pay attention to rise. Not too high and not too low. Mid-rise is best for all shapes. Rectangles can go a little lower, but you don’t want to have a “muffin top.” If you can, get a style with a slenderizing tummy panel. Why not take the extra help?

Fit on a skinny jean is SO important. While it’s a skinny jean, you don’t want them too tight. Can you sit down in them? Cross your legs? Zip up your boots? Most jeans now come in a cotton/spandex blend for both comfort and to help the jean keep its shape. You want to be comfortable and you don’t want to show off every lump and bump. Get a pair that fits your largest part — be it your hips, thighs or waist and then have them tailored to fit.

So now that you’ve found a pair, or several that you like, what do you wear with them? My favorite way to wear skinny jeans is with a looser T-shirt or blouse, a great topper like a blazer or faux motorcycle jacket, a cute shoe and some fab accessories. When picking a top, keep it longer than the waistband of your jeans and at least one to two inches above your crotch so that you don’t shorten your torso or legs. Any sort of interest you can draw upwards will also help to balance your lower half.

Skinny jeans not your look? Don’t worry, other jean styles are also on trend. Pick one that works for you. If you feel sexy, you’ll look sexy. But don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try a new style. The result may surprise you.

More skinny jean tips!

How to accessorize your skinny jeans
How to rock colored denim
Get the look: Taking your jeans day to night

Photo credit: FayesVision/

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